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Structural studies of the SERCA calcium pump – offering new mechanistic insights and novel inhibitor development

PhD defence, Tuesday 23 February 2021. Samuel John Hjorth-Jensen.

2021.02.23 | Tina Stenshøj Kaysen

Samuel John Hjort-Jensen

During his studies, Samuel Hjorth-Jensen investigated the calcium pump, a protein that transports calcium and maintains large concentration differences across cell membranes. The activity of the calcium pump is important for calcium signalling in cells, and dysfunction of the pump is implicated in several diseases such as Parkinson’s and heart failure. Furthermore, blocking the pump is a promising strategy to kill drug-resistant cancer cells. Samuel Hjorth-Jensen investigated the application of neutron and time-resolved crystallography techniques to the calcium pump, with the aim of gaining important, new insight into the molecular mechanism of its activity. Structural studies were also performed to elucidate the binding of a new type of calcium pump inhibitors that can be regulated by light exposure.

The results of these studies contribute to the development of a new class of calcium pump inhibitors which may provide future therapeutic benefit. In addition, these studies provide a starting point for further investigations into the mechanism of the calcium pump.

The PhD study was completed at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University.

This summary was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Tuesday 23 February 2021 at 13.00
Place: The PhD defence will be held online. To receive a link to the event, please send an e-mail to Karen Bech-Pedersen, karenb@mbg.au.dk
Title of PhD thesis: Crystallographic investigations of the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase: towards neutron, time-resolved, and novel inhibitor structures

Contact information: Samuel Hjorth-Jensen, e-mail: shjorthjensen@mbg.au.dk, tel.: +45 2137 1314

Members of the assessment committee:

Associate Professor Gisela Bränden, Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Professor Jette Sandholm Kastrup, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Associate Professor Ditlev Egeskov Brodersen (chairman), Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Denmark

Main supervisor:
Professor Poul Nissen, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics – DANDRITE, Aarhus University, Denmark

Instrument Scientist Esko Oksanen, Macromolecular Crystallography, European Spallation Source, Sweden

Associate Principal Scientist Margareta Ek, Structure, Biophysics and FBLG, AstraZeneca, Sweden

Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.

Due to the coronavirus situation, the PhD thesis will not be available for reading at the offices of the PhD administration. Instead, interested parties may send an e-mail to gradschool.nat@au.dk to receive a digital copy of the PhD thesis. Please note, it may in certain cases be necessary to make an individual arrangement to read the PhD thesis.

PhD defence
16882 / i43